How To Tackle A Difficult Boss

It’s a vexing problem for many – they like their job but just don’t seem to be able to get along with their boss.  Obviously, the first impulse of many who have a difficult boss is to hand in their papers and search for another job. Is this always the best decision to take? One of the things you like about your job may be the financial security it brings with it. Is scuttling this security worth it just because of a difficult boss?

There are other ways to handle such a situation. Here are some tips on handling a difficult boss. These tips will not work in all situations. Your boss may be a genuinely unreasonable man, in which case it may be prudent to look elsewhere. However, we often perceive our bosses as difficult only because we are scared of them. Fear closes down communication, which means that resolution of the problem is impossible.

  • Stop gossiping about your boss. The spoken word has immense power – over you, over those you work with and over the general office atmosphere.

If you have been unable to communicate your grievances directly to your boss, you may have fallen in the habit of bad-mouthing him or her to all who will listen. This creates two problems – firstly, it reinforces your own negative feelings about your boss, making the problem worse. Secondly, it can strain your relations with your boss further because word travels quickly in an office setting. The more you complain to those who cannot make a difference in your problem, and the more slander against your boss you indulge in, the worse the situation becomes.

  • Communication is the key to resolving most problems in life. If you do not communicate your issues to your difficult boss, he can hardly be blamed for not being part of the solution.

The intangible concept of ‘relationship’ comes into play here. You need to build a better relationship with your boss, and this involves communication. How many times have you approached him or her personally? Muster up the courage to approach your boss and outline your problems diplomatically. Be sure to mention that you are happy with your job, but that you would like to enjoy better professional comfort levels. Be specific about the nature of your problem and ask if there is any way you could help in resolving it. You may be surprised at how open people can be if they are approached properly and sincerely.

  • If you feel or have been told that your boss has a negative impression about you, strive to change that opinion.

Your boss’ antipathy toward you may be well-founded. You may be under-performing, gossiping about the management or be fraternizing too much with other negative people. Make efforts to correct this course. Drop out of office gossip and groups that indulge in it. Offer to work over-time on a crucial project, and ask your boss if there any areas he or she wishes you to improve upon.

We tend to look at our bosses as super-human people who do not think, feel and react like we do. This is a mistake. In any given situation involving your boss, ask yourself if you would not have reacted in the same manner if the shoe were on the other foot.  Once you are able to see your boss as just another human being, you may begin to understand where the problem lies and what you can do about it.

Jappreet Sethi

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Author: Jappreet Sethi

Jappreet Sethi is a HR professional with experience of leading HR & people consulting practice of multinational professional services firms .

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3 Comments

  1. Jappreet, what u r suggesting is based on introspection rather.but still a lot of people who face such problem in office are bound to try it…Aditya

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  2. That’s 2 cevler by half and 2×2 clever 4 me. Thanks!

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